Private Peaceful – Episode 11

Preparing to go 'over the top'.

Private Peaceful - Episode 11: synopsis

Morning arrives for Tommo. Someone is going to lose their life but it is not necessarily clear who...

Tommo’s thoughts return to the front line where it has become quiet. The threat of a gas attack is ever present and when it comes Tommo is full of fear. As he tries to escape the cloud of gas his mask comes off and he breathes the gas. A German soldier discovers him but allows Tommo to escape. In hospital he sees the bodies of those who did not survive.

Letters arrive for Tommo. He reads them aloud to Pete because he has no letters. One, from Tommo’s mother, gives the news of the baby’s arrival. The child is named Tommo. Charlie is with them on leave but has clearly not spoken of the horror of the War to them. Pete is disgusted by this and feels betrayed. The second letter is from Charlie and Molly. In the letter Charlie explains his reasons for hiding the truth about the War from the family.

On a night of leave from the front line Tommo returns to ‘Pop’ and looks for Anna. He discovers she has been killed by a stray German (‘Boche’) shell. He visits her freshly-dug grave. Charlie returns from leave and in the trench everyone feels safer that he is among them again.

Charlie meets Hanley for the first time since his return. To Tommo Charlie talks of the two different worlds: life in the trenches and life at home. The constant shelling returns and despite the soldiers’ attempts to cope with it Tommo loses control and screams in terror. Charlie comforts him and sings ‘Oranges and lemons’ to calm him.

The company goes over the top again and Tommo suddenly feels a pain in his head. He falls to the ground believing that he is dying...and relieved to be doing so.

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Clip: the gas attack


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Private Peaceful – Episode 10
Private Peaceful – Episode 12
Private Peaceful – Episode 13